Dual Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy says Redzel is the best sprinter he has ever ridden as he aims to steer the favourite to the $2.5 million Group One TJ Smith Stakes.
“He’s the best sprinter I’ve ridden. You can always argue about who’s the best sprinter or horse in the world, but he’s really top of the tree in Australia at the moment,” McEvoy told AAP.
The star sprinter is the TAB’s $2.20 favourite for the race on the first day of The Championships at Randwick.
“He’s only five-years-old so hopefully he can add to his CV,” the champion jockey said.
Redzel already has an impressive CV with two Group One wins in the Doomben 10,000 (1200m) and Darley Classic (1200m) to go with his scorching win in the inaugural running of The Everest at Randwick last October.
“He’s building an aura. When they keep winning you get a real following. He’s got a great ownership group,” McEvoy said.
The gelding is unbeaten from his past five starts at Randwick including the Group Two Challenge Stakes in March.
The 37-year-old jockey knows a champion when he sees one, after riding Brew to the 2000 Melbourne Cup before saluting again on Almandin in 2016.
He also spent several years riding in Europe for Godolphin.
McEvoy said it was a quality field for the TJ Smith Stakes with The Galaxy winner In Her Time and Brave Smash who ran third in The Everest likely to be the biggest threats.
But the jockey says Redzel is every jockey’s dream.
“He’s a great horse to ride. As a jockey he’s a dream. He’s fast out of the barriers and he knows what he’s there to do”.
Trapeze Artist ($14) is one of eight Group One winners in the race taking on the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Redzel.
The colt’s trainer Gerald Ryan says the Golden Rose winner is fit and refreshed for his first start since his third behind Kementari and Pierata in the Randwick Guineas.
Trapeze Artist has won twice over 1200 metres in the 2017 Black Opal Stakes and more importantly, in the weight-for-age Expressway Stakes in February.
“He’s fit and well and hopefully he can cause an upset,” Ryan said.
“But Redzel is the best sprinter in the country and the two best sprinting mares (In Her Time and English) are there as well so it won’t be easy.”